Summer Dreams

Two weeks ago I promised a really great post. Two weeks ago I wrote a really great blog post, and my phone deleted it. I have been mourning that past. It was witty, heartfelt, life changing, and I just knew a rewrite would not bring it the justice it deserved. RIP great blog post…

So I am starting over and this is what you will get instead! 

Two weeks ago we met up with Autumn and Jeff for her birthday. They are our soul couple when it comes to this tiny house adventure, and we have been dreaming of turning this tiny adventure into something bigger. We want to make building alternative dwellings (tiny houses, tiny houses on wheels, container houses, earthbag dwellings) a business one day. Well all it took was a little libation for us to make it official! We knew the name we wanted for our business, so with a little drink, and a LOT of talent from Jeff, we had a logo designed and tattooed in a matter of a couple hours. Tattooed? Yes, you should know that Mark and I are weird, and part of our weirdness is an affinity for tattooes. Autumn also shares this affinity, one of the reasons we are soul sisters! Jeff was a surprise! But you know what that tells me, if practical, conservative, serious Jeff is willing to get a tattoo representing this crazy idea, maybe it’s not so crazy after all. I don’t think I really thought this was actually a possibility until Jeff gave that “literal” stamp of approval! (Don’t tell Jeff my feelings were so heavily based on his approval!) 


I introduce to you MC2, like MC(squared), Alternative Dwelling Specialists! Jeff did an awesome job designing this, he is a very talented artist. 


So we did things a little backwards, we got tatted before actually making sure the name was available or registering it with the state… so thank goodness it was! This shiznit is legit! 

A seal and everything!

Do we know what any of these documents even mean? No. Do we know anything about starting, running, or maintaining a business? No. Should we have maybe educated ourselves on some of this and maybe actually have finished a product before this? Probably. But in the lyrical stylings of the great musical Rent,

Mark and I decided a long time ago that life is too short to say, “Man, I wish we had done that.” Sure, that has and will lead to some, “yeah maybe we shouldn’t have done that”, and some “I can’t believe we did that” but you don’t know until you try! 

So follow along, the weirdness will continue long after our build is finished! 

Speaking of our build, summer is here!!!!!! I think we have someone to haul off the trashed double wide, so once we can get the site prepped, we will move the tiny house and finish it out. Mark says by the end of the month we will be in it, so I always double his projected timelines, so hopefully by the end of July! 

Comparisons and a Broken Phone

I am writing this post because it is related to the tiny house, but mainly because my phone is broken and I don’t want to actually log in to Facebook!  Yes, I am assuming someone is actually going to read it, and that my jumbled thoughts will form an understandable blog post.  Hey, sometimes I have really cohesive thoughts that I think someone else could get something from.  Also, this is the diary I never kept as a preteen, I’m a late bloomer in the “writing down my feelings” stage of life!  It all makes sense in my head, let’s see if I can translate that to print…

Apparently it has really bothered my father that my son is almost two years old and has never been dedicated.  Mark and I are not what you would consider religious, and we’ve moved and been so unstable in the almost two years of my son’s life, that we haven’t even attempted to find a church for our family.  Well, at my parent’s new church, they were doing mass child dedication, and my father signed us up…  Mark is very traditional when it comes to worship, he is highly educated in the field of sacred music so it kind of makes sense.  The modern music was a little distracting for him, and when they called us up, they said Martian, son of Bryan and Debbi, so that was a little distracting too!  (His name is Marston, and we are Mark and Megan.)

Besides all of this, the message was actually really great, and exceptionally timely for me.  It was about overcoming comparison.  The phrase that sticks with me was this, “The quickest way to kill something special, is to compare it to something else.”  I am guilty of this in practically everything in and related to my life.

I did not allow the extra time I had with Mars to be special, because I compared him to Maelyn.  I have always thought his speech was delayed, because I compared him to his sister.  His sister went to daycare at 3 months old, she was around older kids and engaged more.  I stayed home with Mars for a year.  Naturally I have felt that it is my fault he’s delayed because I didn’t do enough with him, that we have babied him too much.  But I don’t actually hang out with any other 22 month olds, I just know how his sister was.  I finally broke down and took him to a speech pathologist last week.  One hour and almost $200 later, he’s not delayed, just stubborn. (Hmmm, now who could he have learned that from…, I taught him something at least right?)  I wish I had just enjoyed my son, celebrated the special time that we have, and the special little boy that he is, and not had the ugly cloud of comparison over us.

But isn’t it human nature to compare?  How do you know if you are doing well in life if you don’t compare it to something?  Isn’t it Ricky Bobby who says, “if you’re not first, your last”?

Every month they announce Teachers of the Month, and every month I am not one.  Mark was two months ago, so in a society that constantly compares and competes, I have felt like a complete and total loser every month.  Then I remember something else the pastor said, “stay in your lane, stick with your passion, don’t be distracted, stay in your lane.”  I’ll say it, and I don’t think anyone would disagree, teaching is not my lane.  Honestly, I don’t know what is.  I haven’t found my passion, at least a passion that will pay the bills!  I am the epitome of “Jack of all trades, Master of none.”  I don’t mean this in a humble brag or arrogant way, I can do almost anything, I just don’t do anything really well!  I am praying for guidance in that area, and hoping God reveals it to me before I’m too old to pursue it!

So here’s what I’m getting to, the tiny house is and has always been special, because I haven’t compared it to anything and I feel like it is what we should be doing, it is Mark and I’s lane.  Sure, I’ve been disillusioned, or felt defeated at times, but this was because of the time and work being put into it and not seeing results very quickly.  I could very easily compare it to my friends mini mansions, but I haven’t, because it’s more than just a “tiny house” for us.  Even when we were touring the tiny houses in Dallas a couple of weeks ago, yeah I might have compared the craftsmanship, or the use of space, but they were so different from what we are doing.  This whole thing has been about a process, a process to make what is important, to and for our family, a reality.  Maybe it’s because we don’t personally know anyone else who is doing this sort of thing.  Whatever the reason, I am glad I haven’t killed this special thing yet!

And I am glad that I have this message to reflect on, and hopefully change my way of thinking.  I will make a conscious effort to stop comparing, my children, my marriage, myself, and my circumstances to anything or anyone else.  They are all special, so very very special, and I will choose to celebrate and enjoy each and every special thing that God has given me!

Okay, it’s been a bit busy lately!

As my good friend Chandra pointed out to my husband, I have been majorly slacking in the blogging department!  In my defense, it’s really hard to blog when you don’t know what you should be writing about!  You see, Mark has been working, but I have been too busy with laundry, grad school, swim, and our children, to be out there working with him.  I would much rather work on the house, but he thinks clean underwear are important so here I sit, typing and folding clothes.  There really are not enough hours in the day for either one of us!  Also, my dear husband apparently doesn’t know how to use a camera, so I have very few pictures to add!

But as we tell our students, excuses are like feet, everyone has them and they all stink!  So I refuse to have excuses anymore, the laundry must be done, the children must be cared for, the house must be built, and the blog must be written!  (Because if it’s not on social media, it didn’t happen…)

Let’s get caught up shall we?

Just a few days after our awesome New Years campout, we got a little snow!  I thought the tiny house looked so cute in snow!

As of this publication, all of the interior walls have been installed, what what!!!!  What did we use, you ask?  We call it the “when you want the shiplap look but you’re poor”.  We used sanded sheets of plywood, clamped down four at a time, (because we are not only poor of money, but poor of time!) and ripped them down in 4 or 5 inch planks.  I say 4 or 5 inches because, even though I was actually there for this in body, I was not there in mind!  
In the loft and kitchen, Mark just put up whole sheets.  No sense in cutting more planks when they will just be covered by cabinets!

He looks so good working 😍

So after the walls, it was time for the ceiling.  Mark wanted something like coffered ceilings, because that would have been easier than the planks. This thing is already a long wooden box, do we really need our ceiling style to sound (and look 🙅🏼) like coffin?  But I just thought it was ugly so, wife veto!  Mark and Jeff came up with the slanted larger planks running opposite to the center to a “bowtie” design.

I started this post yesterday, so as of this publication NOW, the ceiling is up and trimmed! We are getting there people! 

Spring break is next week! I’m expecting lots done, like paint, cabinets, and much much more! Stay tuned! 

Moving forward in 2017

So here it is, five days into the new year, and I’m just getting around to writing a “New Years” post. Okay that’s a lie, I’ve had the time and the words I just couldn’t make myself physically type them out. I guess it’s one of those “if I say it, it won’t come true”, or more honestly, “if I say it someone might see me fail”. I’m choosing right now to see it as a “if I say it and someone sees me struggling they will keep me accountable”. So now you know your job for the year! 😬

As I was thinking about the new year, and all the NEW that is implied, I read something about not making resolutions, but rather, make intentions. I think of resolutions as goals, and while I believe that having goals are important (I am from the school of FEMA, Homeland Security, and state government so goals should always be SMART) what happens when you don’t attain them? Am I a failure because I didn’t achieve that one statement I put on myself 365 days ago? Some of you would say yes, and you are a jerk! Don’t get me wrong, I still have goals, but at this point in my life, I mean I’ve achieved so much, it’s getting hard to set realistic goals. (Did you puke a little? I puked a little! 🤢🤥🤥🤥🤣) That was totally a joke if my humor doesn’t translate too print. 

 This year I choose to focus on intentions. Intentions are what we do in the present to achieve our goals. Call me hippie dippie, and those of you who knew the me from 5 years ago are going to be baffled by this but, I choose to live my life in the present. Not the mistakes of the past, not what could be in the future, but the right now. (Parenthood really changes a person man!) 

So I came up with one overarching intention for 2017. 🥁🥁🥁🥁🥁🥁(that’s a drumroll by the way) 

I intend to love more in 2017, myself, my husband, my children, my family, my friends, my work, my school, and my tiny house project. 

I have sub intentions for all of those as well but I think you get the picture. 

As I look back on 2016, at first I want to say wow that was a bad year, but when I go through month by month, every down had a corresponding up. When my mother-in-law was diagnosed with cancer, we were here, when Mark’s job furloughed, the very next day these jobs at DMS opened up and we got them. You know, that’s pretty much been my life, every time I’ve been knocked down, somehow I’ve gotten back up. (There have been and still are a lot of prayers interceded on my behalf.) I know, I’m starting to sound like one of those glass half full people. Am I sick? Did something invade my body, is there something wearing a Megan suit? (See what I did there? Snuck in the best part of Men in Black! “It wasn’t Eggar, it was like an Eggar suit.”) I realize that my RBF gives people the wrong impression (that’s just how my face is) but I actually am a pretty positive person…

So tiny house wise, because we spent almost the entire Christmas break out of state, not much work got done… However, I wanted our family to wake up in the new year in our own home so my husband worked his booty off and made the Monteith Tiny House New Years Campout Party happen! 👏👨‍👩‍👧‍👦⛺️🎉

The kids teepee Dad set up with house wrap tubes!
A boy,obsessed with the lights, and his dog.
A girl and her dog.
Helping daddy install a real door knob we could lock. Not gonna lie, I got freaked out a couple times because of the wind and the unfinished slide out area!

Jeff did come down a day and they got some interior walls in. Again, if Jeff wasn’t there we’d still probably have a blank trailer! We are doing the poor mans shiplap, but to make things easier, behind the counters and appliances are whole pieces. 

I really can’t wrap up 2016 without thanking my parents. We’ve been in their house for about a year now, 6 months longer than planned and a couple more to go. It hasn’t been ideal, but my mother hasn’t killed my husband yet! (I think the fear of being stuck with the kids and I forever is the only thing keeping her from it!) They have provided more food, clothing, and shelter than we deserve or could ever repay, although apparently I’m trying with vacuums… I also can’t write a moving forward in 2017 without thanking those who have supported us. (Jeff, Autumn, Chandra I’m looking at you!) Some think it’s a good idea, some support it, very few are both. Your physical, mental, and emotional support has meant the world to us, so thank you!

In 2017 the Monteiths WILL modus vivendi to mini, come follow along!

I’ve got some time, I might as well write an update…

Currently riding back from Midwest City, in a school bus full of high school swimmers. I figure now is as good a time as ever to write a little  (I should probably be paying attention to what they’re doing…) Anywho, where are we, oh yes tiny house construction. Plumbing was done, I guess. I didn’t go out, it was cold, but I got this picture. 


But Mark doesn’t like to work by himself, and a construction zone is not a place for kids, so this happened. 


And then Mark spent several evenings after school, and Jeff came one weekend, and poof, insulation! 


So hopefully some interior walls soon, but of course we will be in Colorado and New Mexico 10 of the 14 days of Christmas break so… 

Let’s Talk About “Those Shows” 

and a little self-appreciation. 

When Mark and I started this journey, way back in May, I put applications to a couple of the popular “tiny house” television shows. The first one did not work out because they wanted us to hire “professionals” so that it could be finished for filming within 9 days. That went against the very reasons  we decided to embark on this adventure. It wasn’t worth paying thousands of extra dollars to someone else, to do things we could do ourselves, just to be on tv.  So we moved on. 

The second show seemed to be a better fit. It was geared more toward the DIYer. We eventually got a skype interview. They wanted to meet all of us, see how we interacted as a family, and hear us discuss our project. Of course Maelyn had a total breakdown right before so Mark, Mars,and I sat in front of the computer trying to convince someone in Colorado that we were tv worthy. Well apparently we were not. We were eventually told that our build did not contain enough “unique” features. This isn’t a summer project for us to travel the world before mommy and daddy cut us off and we have to get real jobs, this is our family of four choosing a lifestyle to better our relationships, pocketbook, and environment. (Can you tell I’m a little bitter?)

Anyhow, this leads to something I’m struggling with right now, if I had been able to better”sell” myself, would it have made a difference? I was raised to believe that your actions are what matters, you shouldn’t have to tell someone how great you are, they should know because of the works you do. 

I teach one class of Career Explorations. My class has decided to participate in an “Entrepreneur Expo” by creating a business, making a business plan, and working through all that entails. The only feedback I’ve gotten on all this, take pictures so it can go on Facebook. In this society of “if it didn’t get x amount of likes on social media, it didn’t really happen” I am struggling. 

This week I needed to write a bio for the winter sports program for being the assistant swim coach. Immediately I was thinking about how I could fit my father and brothers accomplishments into it because writing about how great they were was a lot easier than writing about myself. It was always frowned upon to brag, wow that’s a word I haven’t heard in a while!

Now in saying all this you are probably thinking, she’s just writing this to get likes or someone to disagree and make her feel good. Nope. This is mostly a personal journal for us to look back on, half the time Mark doesn’t even read my ramblings so I’m not expecting many followers and I don’t take compliments well, probably a side effect of my self worth issues! Autumn has tried to crack me for 5 years now, I think that’s why we’ve stayed friends, the therapist in her likes the challenge!

I am genuinely struggling with the idea of self promotion. I envy my husband most times because he has no problem with self appreciation. He knows what he’s good at and takes pride in himself. I tell him he has a big head and an inflated ego (because I’m such a good wife 😔) but also wish I could be that confident. Somehow, somewhere, my brain was wired to believe if you aren’t the best, there is room for improvement, and therefore nothing good to talk about. 

Clearly my spirit animal is an 83 year old man cursing technology and kids these days. I should have been born about 50 years ago, when you worked hard, you’re boss actually observed your work directly not your social media footprint, and only people you physically interacted with knew you died!

That’s enough for dear diary, let’s talk tiny house! It’s still really, really slow going. The metal was put on, boards have been stained and put on, and we are dangerously close to actually being done with the exterior. It finally decided to become fall, and with that came some rain, so the painting that still has to be done may have to wait a while. At least it’s nice and cool for inside work! 

Oh yeah and this happened. Mark didn’t want to take the big trailer so he just cut these down in the parking lot. You can see our son in the background trying to act like he doesn’t know this man!

Today it’s cold! So I’m posted up by the space heater, watching. I don’t know why he wants me here, I do hold the ladder every once in a while if his safety looks questionable!

Work has moved inside!

Of course the outside is not really “done”, but I guess it’s “done” enough to start work inside…

You should know by now that nothing gets done unless Jeff comes down! Last weekend, the boys (I think that’s what I’m going to refer to them as from now on) put in the loft floor. I got up there, it was pretty stable I guess. I was just impressed that I fit between the rafters! (Don’t ask why I know that, it involved a ladder and my awkward self, that’s all I’m saying about that!)


Jeff also taught Marsy Man how to use a paint roller, it’s never too early to learn essential diy skills!


Today they started electrical work. Now keep in mind that neither of these fellows is an electrician… We will most definitely have it inspected! I am a bit of a list maker, I like a good visual representation when doing pretty much everything. All of the “plans” for the tiny house are in Mark’s head. We fight constantly over my desire for things to be on paper and his stupid refusal to grant me this one, not unreasonable, request. He finally put something on paper, the semi understandable electrical plan. Would you like to know why he finally did it? Jeff wanted it! 😤


Maelyn even wanted to work today. She kept asking her daddy if he “had any jobs” for her. He put her on shop vac duty. She was such a diligent worker that she almost gave up a ride on the golf cart. Luckily her boss gave her the afternoon off to play on Betsy, aka the golf cart. 


Are you ready for the truly heartwarming part of the day? For some reason we had an infestation of wasps, clearly we need to get back and finish the exterior,but there was a high possibility of having a run in with one. To keep him safe, Mark’s BFFL kept watch for wasps while he ran wiring in the loft.


 I got the heck out of there, I don’t mess with flying stinging bugs! So yeah, I see now why Jeff ranks higher on the “people I will do things for” list!

I am Slowly Going Crazy, 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, switch…

Crazy going slowly am I 6, 5, 4, 3, 2, 1, switch!

There has been so much happen since the last post, I seriously do not even know where to begin!  Let me refresh myself on where I left off real quick… okay I think I can write a post now to get you all adequately caught up!

The roof is on, I repeat the roof is on!  No more tarps in these parts!  Jeff (if you haven’t figured it out, this would be nothing without him!) helped Mark and I get the roof sheathing (is that a thing, again why there is a disclaimer), tar paper, and metal roofing on.  We went with galvalume.

Next came the windows and siding.  Well all but one window, a certain orange big box store failed to deliver one, and two months later, it’s still lost in transit…  We are doing wood siding on the top, and running the metal on the bottom, with a spacer of stained boards.  So far, it’s just the top siding on, but the majority of it is painted so that’s something right!??!

Mark’s dad came in from New Mexico, and assisted (more like supervised from a short distance) with the rolled roofing where the rooftop deck will be.  So the tiny house should be waterproof now!

Autumn and Jeff spent a Saturday with us and the guys finished up the siding and built the faux wall where the slide out will be. Reunited and it feels so good!

With both of us teaching, me coaching, both of us doing graduate work, finding time to work on the tiny house is sparse!  If anyone wants to lend a hand, we would welcome it!

 

It’s Been a Bit 😖

Mark asked me if I had updated the blog, my reply, “there hasn’t really been anything new.”  I guess the craziness of sneaking in build time between Mark’s studies, a kid’s birthday, and getting ready to go back to work was deceiving. 

A LOT has been accomplished! 

Mark’s BFFL, Jeff, helped get the floor ready over the gooseneck. 


My brother and sister-in-law came down from Kansas to help one weekend. We got walls on the gooseneck, but more importantly, Lacy organized the shop! (Trust me, it was rough!)


Jeff came back, seriously BFFL, and they put up loft walls. 


And this last weekend, Popsicle came out and we got most of the roof on!


Now, if we could just decide on the roof and siding materials and colors it might soon look like a real house. A real, tiny, house!

Sacrifice

As we were planning out the bedroom to frame the walls Mark asked me a poignant question, “What are you willing to sacrifice?” I realized immediately, sacrifice is a huge part of this, our journey.

It was meant as a pretty simple question, he was asking me how much of the living space was I willing to give up for the bedroom.  The answer was easy, the bedroom is just for sleeping, so we don’t want to spend a whole lot of precious square footage on that!

This “simple” question let my brain on a Megan thinking path.  When playing the game of tiny house, there will be much sacrifice!!!

But not just square footage, space, thing, and stuff are being sacrificed; and we are not the only ones doing the sacrificing.

I was reminded today that during this process, I’ve had to sacrifice some of my feelings.  This may come as a surprise, but not everyone thinks what we are doing is cool!  As one family member asked my child, “Are you ready to be trailer trash?”  That stings.  That really just hurts my feelings.  It makes me feel like I am less, why, because I desire less? We desire less mortgage, less junk, less time having to work to pay for things we don’t have time to enjoy.  I know what we are doing is the complete opposite of the “American Dream”, and don’t expect everyone to understand, but this is the sacrifice Mark and I are making for our children to reimagine the “American Dream.”

Don’t misinterpret me, the majority of our family and friends have been very supportive, most of them would never do something like this and think we are beyond weird, but supportive none the less!  And many of these family members and friends have sacrificed for out journey.  Our parents have made huge sacrifices for us, letting us live with them for going on 6 months.  Letting us use their land to build, and most likely park, our tiny house.  Our family and friends who have put in hours upon hours helping us build(I’m talking about you Jeff!), in the sweltering heat, or the random downpours of summer storms.

This has not been easy.  Getting rid of most of our possessions was not fun.  We don’t have this insane idea that living in less than 400 square feet with two children is going to be 100% pleasant.  What we do believe is that he sacrifices we are making now will better our family, and you know what, that’s all that matters!